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Want to learn more about the history of cheese in Wisconsin? The recently opened (last October) Cheese Counter: Dairy Heritage Center In Plymouth is the place to visit.

Located in a restored 1875 building in downtown Plymouth, you can purchase umpteen varieties of cheese from local cheese factories, and at the same time learn about Wisconsin’s cheese history. At one time Plymouth was the center of Wisconsin’s cheese industry. Today, it calls itself the Cheese Capital of the World—with a signed congressional proclamation to prove it.

Here you can purchase books about Wisconsin’s dairy history—I signed copies of my books there last Wednesday and I met the assistant manager, Margie Morgan. In addition to having several of my book titles, they feature books about cheese, local history and cookbooks. The store also carries several games and books about farming and cheese for children.

Want to purchase a yellow foam cheese head or a cheese cowboy hat? This is the place. Want to try a bowl of delicious cheese and beer soup or feast on various kinds of cheese sandwiches. It’s here. How about a T-shirt inscribed with the words, “Keep Calm: We Have Cheese?” Yup, buy it here.

In 1910, Wisconsin became the leading cheese-producing state in the nation, beating out New York state. Wisconsin may have lost the title of producing the most milk to California a few years ago, it has retained the title of “Leading cheese producer in the nation.” This is year 108 and still counting.

The store, really a combination gift shop, lunch counter, and museum is open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Tuesdays.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Eat cheese. It’s good for you.

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to www.jerryapps.com. 

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